Agreeing on a working definition of LAWS will be a challenging endeavour, as there are several working definitions already in circulation, and some stakeholders have already stated a preferred policy response. Moreover, each proposed definition attends to a particular set of concerns and characteristics, while omitting others.

One’s position on both an appropriate definition and an adequate policy response ultimately depends on what one is concerned about. Different definitions will attend different sets of concerns, as well as privilege different sets of characteristics.

The objective of this primer is to consolidate and give an overview of both concerns and characteristics and illustrate how different definitional approaches attend to these.

Citation: Security and Technology Programme (2017) "The Weaponization of Increasingly Autonomous Technologies: Concerns, Characteristics and Definitional Approaches", UNIDIR, Geneva.